Why Jens Voigt can win this year’s Tour de France

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In 1956, on Stage Seven of the Tour de France, a group of 31 riders broke clear of the rest of the peloton on the road to Angers and finished more than 18 minutes clear. The best placed rider in the group was Roger Walkowiak, who consequently relieved his compatriot André Darrigade of the yellow jersey.

Walkowiak would later lose the race lead but he fought tenaciously in the mountains and regained the Maillot Jaune with four days to go until the Tour reached Paris. The Frenchman held on for the win and became only the second rider since Firmin Lambot in 1922 to win the Tour without winning a stage. In fact, Walkowiak remains the only Tour winner who never even managed to finish in the top three on any stage.

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The Grand Tour hat-trick: A stage win in each

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The biggest stage races in the sport of cycling are the Grand Tours. Consisting of three weeks of racing, the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana are each more than twice as long as the next longest stage race at the top level of the sport. To win one of these races is the pinnacle of any cyclist’s career.

Only five riders have ever won all three of these races. They are Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador. No rider has ever won all three in the same year. In fact, it is relatively rare to even complete all three in the same year.

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Is the Dauphine/Tour double a realistic possibility?

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The following is a post written this time last year but Wiggins’s performance in the Dauphine so far this week has sparked more debate than ever as to whether it’s possible to win both the Dauphine and the Tour in the same year.

Of course we need to add 2011 to the figures at the bottom of the page where Wiggins won the Dauphine and DNF’d at the Tour and Evans won the Tour and finished second at the Dauphine.

Jens Voigt suggested on twitter today that Wiggins has peaked far too early. But does any rider really peak for the Dauphine? Isn’t Wiggins simply up against a peloton full of riders who are also aiming to peak for the Tour? Surely Wiggins is on the same upward form trajectory as all of his potential rivals and he is simply better now and will also be better than them in June. Only time will tell…

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